Katarina Johnson-Thompson suffers more Olympic heartache as injury forces her out

·3 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson pulled up in the 200m as her Olympic heptathlon hopes came crashing down in the last event on day one in Tokyo.

The British athlete had gone into the Games unsure how her body would hold up eight months after Achilles surgery.

But the old injury seemed to flare up as she turned into the home straight of the sprint event, usually one of her strongest disciplines.

It meant more heartache for the British athlete, who has suffered all manner of major championship setbacks in the past from faltering high jumps to a trio of fouls in the long jump.

This one almost seemed the cruellest. Having been in the form of her life in 2019 to win the world title, form she believed she carried over into 2020, the year delay to the Olympics effectively denied her a shot at gold when her Achilles went and had to be operated on.

Watch: The Olympic star who learned her sport using a giant elastic band

And to add insult to injury, she was disqualified for running out of her lane as she shunned medical help to hobble over the finish line in echoes of Derek Redmond at the 1992 Olympics.

The Liverpudlian had admitted on the eve of competition she did not know how her body would deal with the rigours of seven events and, with four of them still to go that had not been fully answered. Lengthy treatment on her Achilles between rounds of the high jump highlighted the magnitude of the physical challenge.

Days before Tokyo, Johnson-Thompson had declared herself fit but not necessarily in personal-best form. Inspired to aim for the top having watched the BBC series Gold Rush in the event build-up, she insisted the Olympics would highlight the championship performer in her.

And so it proved initially in her opening event, the 100m hurdles, as she won her heat in 13.27sec, the quickest time she had run outside of Doha in 2019, when she had looked unbeatable virtually all competition long.

However, the jumping events were always going to be a big question mark. She lacked her usual fluency in the high jump, having a failure at 1.80m and two at 1.83m, heights she would usually sail over as an athlete with a PB of 1.98. She eventually bowed out at 1.86m, some way short of the 1.95m achieved in Doha.

Her main rival Thiam, meanwhile, managed a season’s best 1.98m but 10cm shy of her own PB, giving Johnson-Thompson some relative positivity.

In the shot put, the Britain threw her second-ever furthest distance of 13.31m and, while Thiam managed 14.82m, it was below the Belgian’s usual best.

But all of that was inconsequential as the Achilles issue appeared to flare up halfway through the 200m, the British athlete leaving the track in tears.

Watch: The best and worst Olympics logos over the years

Read More

Sydney McLaughlin wins stunning Tokyo Olympics gold with new 400m hurdles world record

Katarina Johnson-Thompson suffers more Olympic heartache as injury forces her out

Karsten Warholm smashes world record to win 400m hurdles gold at Tokyo Olympics after epic Rai Benjamin battle

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting